Qin army had disappeared without a trace. After the unexpected assault, none of the outposts discovered any movement of the Qin army for over half a month. Great Yan Dynasty had employed a strategy of coping the uncertainties with composure, by continuing with the construction of 270 outposts. In the future, each of the outposts would be stationed with an army of several thousand soldiers, and the strategic defensive mechanisms that were similar in strength as the city wall in Ji City. These outposts would become the biggest headache-inducing stumbling blocks that lied in the advancing path of the Qin army.
When the construction of all the outposts was completed, and was linked up using teleportation formation and guarded by many cultivators and demon beasts, any military operation of Qin army would have to face with the powerful oppression and counterattack from Yan army.
As all the tasks were carried out by the professionals, Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng, the Chief Supervisor and his deputy of the West Field Headquarter, had brought a few loyal subordinates, sneaking out from their office and arriving in the depths of the Meng Mountains.
There they saw a small teleportation formation spitting out countless laborers. Nie Yaonu and Nie Baihong had brought a group of forty-two Gold Core Human Immortals, and several hundred Xiantian cultivators to guard the surroundings, monitoring these laborers as they moved towards a small valley not far away. There were some men wearing lower-ranked official outfits, running back and forth among the laborers, shouting and snapping at them, preventing them from wandering about and looking randomly.
Wu Qi was shocked when he saw those Human Immortals standing around Nie Yaonu and Nie Baihong. Together with this pair of mother and son, there were a total of forty-four Human Immortals of Gold Core realm standing right before him. In the knowledge of the public, Heaven Breaking Sword Sect only had thirty-six Gold Core Elders, while most of them were very close with Yan Li, or as a matter of fact, were his loyal subordinates. Yet surprisingly, this pair of mother and son had so many Human Immortals loyal to them as well.
After giving those Human Immortals a few glances, Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng walked quickly towards Nie Yaonu and Nie Baihong, then bowed and offered their greetings.
"Grand Elder, Master!" Wu Qi stood straight up after offered the greetings. He pointed his finger at the small valley with a smile on his face and said, "I've done a thorough investigation in this area using an underground traveling technique. Right under the valley is a huge energy stone vein. The quality is excellent, as most of them are energy stones of middle-grade, making up about eighty percent in the entire vein. Roughly ten percent of the vein is upper-grade energy stones, and the rest are supreme-grade. However, the most precious materials are found deep below the energy stone vein. There are a few rare veins of accompanied metals, about several ten thousand feet underground."
He swallowed a lump in his throat and continued, "We just have to open up a mine entrance in the center of the valley, let those laborers dig out mine tunnels, and carry out the excavation operation. Within three to five years, no one would know that there is such a huge energy stone vein in this place, while the energy stones and all sorts of other materials we mined out during this period will be more than enough for Heaven Breaking Sword Sect to have a great expansion."
Nie Yaonu kept nodding her head satisfyingly, while looking at the endless streams of laborers coming out from the teleportation formation with a big smile on her face. "Wu Qi, among so many disciples of mine, you're the best." praised Nie Yaonu, "With all these mineral veins, Heaven Breaking Sword Sect can finally become a truly independent sect, and no longer has to be controlled by someone else."
Nie Baihong frowned and said, "But currently, that Great Qin who came out of nowhere has intruded Meng Mountains, and they will have a war with Great Yan in this place. I think we need to give the safety of this place a careful consideration."
Nie Yaonu waved her hand in the air without any worry and said, "No worries, I believe Chengfeng has already formed his Gold Core, hasn't he? Then, he must have attained some profound achievement in the Dao of Formation through the Arts of Heaven Patching Formation. We can get him to construct some illusionary formation here, preventing any aura from leaking out. As long as we are not down on our luck, no one will discover this place. No matter it is Great Qin or Great Yan, since they are going to have a war here, they will have no time to investigate anything underground. On the contrary, this is actually the best opportunity for us to expand ourselves. Although there are some risks, it is actually safer. At least currently, Great Yan does not have the time to keep having their eyes on us."
Pointing at the small valley, Nie Yaonu smiled and said, "I officially declare that from today onwards, the inner sect of Heaven Breaking Sword Sect will be standing strong here! By taking the opportunity when both dynasties are at war, we can focus all our attention and efforts on further developing our strength. I have no intention of domineering this world, and I just hope we will never again be the tools that are held in someone else's hands. After we shake off the shackles from Great Yan Dynasty, we, the Heaven Breaking Sword Sect, can then live a free life in this vast world!"
From among the officials who were supervising the laborers, a middle-aged man, clad in a silk robe and with an extraordinary bearing, walked quickly walked towards them. Nie Yaonu pointed her finger at the man, turned smilingly at Wu Qi and said, "Look, that man is Ye Zidou, a disciple who Baihong secretly took in fifty years ago. He is the son of concubine from the Ye Clan in the Tianfang Kingdom. Sixty years ago, he was forced out from his clan, then he brought one hundred thousand people and established a new city on the shore of Great East Ocean. The name of the city is Purple Leaf City, and over a million people are living there. He is a very capable man."
With a quick pace, Ye Zidou came to them, then bowed solemnly at Nie Yaonu and Nie Baihong.
Nie Baihong introduced them to each other. Wu Qi took a deep look at Ye Zidou, then smiled and offered him a greeting, "Wu Qi offers greetings, senior brother Ye! It is my honor to know you!" Secretly, Wu Qi sent out his divine will and briefly scanned through Ye Zidou's body. He was surprised again, as even though Ye Zidou looked only in his forties, he was actually a middle-stage Gold Core Human Immortal, and there was a sword energy that had begun to take form in his dantian.
Forming sword energy was a unique characteristic for those who were cultivating with Unity of Sword Energies Script of Heaven Breaking Sword Sect. It was a process of condensing the five element sword energies using a mystic technique, shaping them into one single sword energy that was capable of destroying any obstacles, and unleashing an offensive strength that was many times stronger than ordinary magic spells. Initially, Wu Qi thought except for Nie Yaonu and Nie Baihong, he was the only person who had obtained this technique through exchanging something with them. But judging from what he saw in Ye Zidou's dantian, and how the sword energies emanating from his body kept transforming into strong and razor-sharp gold element sword energies, Ye Zidou must have been given with the script as well. However, the sword energy in his dantian was rather small and weak. It seemed like he was only taught today.
Since the Unity of Sword Energies Script was given to him, obviously, this Ye Zidou was a disciple who was very loyal to Nie Yaonu and Nie Baihong. Wu Qi then ran his divine will through all the other forty-two Human Immortals, only to discover a couple of them were having sword energy taking shape in their dantian. Silently, he memorized the look of these people. As they were the most loyal disciples of Nie Yaonu and Nie Baihong, they were also the manpower who Wu Qi could use in the future.
Ye Zidou smilingly returned the greetings to Wu Qi, then exchanged a greeting with Lu Chengfeng.
However, when Lu Chengfeng and Ye Zidou's eyes met, both of them smiled suddenly as if they had reached a tacit understanding. Wu Qi was baffled at first. But, when he looked again at Ye Zidou and Lu Chengfeng, although Lu Chengfeng looked a few years younger, no matter it was the way they dressed up or their bearing, both of them looked really alike. Then, he listened to Ye Zidou telling them his background and personal experience - the son of concubine from Ye Clan of the Tianfang Kingdom, an unlucky fellow who was forced to leave his clan and established a new city with one hundred thousand people… How similar was this to Lu Chengfeng's background and experience?
That was not all, as there was a similar look of going through vicissitudes of life in the eyes of both the men.
Suddenly Wu Qi broke out into a loud laughter, then kept pointing his finger back and forth between two men. Nie Yaonu and Nie Baihong were struck dumb by the sudden laugh, then they gave Lu Chengfeng and Ye Zidou a closer look, and suddenly broke out into a loud laughter as well. After a long laugh, Nie Yaonu finally wiped off a drop of tear from the corner of her eye, shook her head and said, "Why do all the disciples taken by me have a similar background? You are both abandoned sons of your parents! Aye, both of you should get together often!"
Lu Chengfeng and Ye Zidou laughed at each other too, then they exchanged a deep and solemn bow. They had a similar background and experience, and now were under the same sect. Even without purposely bringing them together, Lu Chengfeng, Ye Zidou, and Wu Qi would soon become very close to each other. Compared to all the other disciples, although all of them were Nie Yaonu and Nie Baihong's loyal disciples, the relationship between the trio would definitely be closer than others.
Those men clad in official outfits were all came from Purple Left City, the administrative officials from Ye Zidou's city, and also his loyal subordinates. Ye Zidou had brought with him eight hundred capable civilian officials, and thirty thousand laborers he recruited from small towns and villages near the surroundings of Purple Left City, who had signed a ten-year contract of working for him. With this amount of workforce, it was more than enough to begin with the initial excavation of those rare underground materials.
All they needed was just three to five years, as with the energy stones excavated from this place, Nie Yaonu and her son would be able to bring out more disciples that were loyal to them, and gradually shake off the shackles that Great Yan Dynasty had put on them. Once Nie Yaonu had her wings fully grown, the current Grand Elder of Heaven Breaking Sword Sect, Yan Li, would have to face a great calamity. Nevertheless, as Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng did not have any special relationship with Yan Li, who would really mind about his life or death?
Deep under the ground were also some rare and precious accompanied materials. With these materials, Nie Yaonu would be able to craft new flying swords, which then could be given to newly recruited disciples. Although Nie Yaonu's skill in crafting was really, really weak, the disciples of Heaven Breaking Sword Sect just needed to be equipped with one flying sword, as their most powerful combative strength was coming from their sword energies. Thus, they did not really need too many external tools or weapons.
At any rate, with this secret energy stone vein and many accompanied materials, Heaven Breaking Sword Sect would have a bright and promising future.
Because of this reason, both Nie Yaonu and Nie Baihong were in very high spirits. After spending some time in looking at the laborers who kept coming out from the formation, they brought all their loyal disciples and walked into the valley. They plunged into a mine entrance and walked along a tunnel which had already been built into the underground energy stone vein.
A few days before Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng arrived, Nie Yaonu had already brought some men and came to this small valley three hundred thousand miles deep into the Meng Mountains. Then, several dozens of cultivators who had their sword energies strong enough to crumble a huge mountain worked hand in hand, and opened up a large space underneath the valley, which was spacious enough to allow hundreds of thousands of men to work and rest at the same time. As the space they opened up was pretty close to the surface, where the composition of the ground was still made of ordinary rocks, it did not require too much of effort to open up using flying swords.
When they began digging further down, as they got close to the energy stone vein and rare metals, the hardness of the rock became comparable to steel and iron. At that point in time, using flying swords and magic spells to break open the rock would be a very tedious task. That was the reason why Ye Zidou had brought fifty thousand miners here, as they would need them to manually and slowly dig further down the earth to excavate all the energy stones and rare metals.
Currently, many miners had already come into the underground space. The civilian officials had grouped them into teams of one hundred men, and assigned them to live in different caves. After they were given with living materials and mining tools, they began walking into different mine pits.
These mine pits were also opened up by Nie Yaonu and her loyal disciples during the past few days. Each of them was over twenty thousand feet into the ground, and had approached very close to the energy stone vein. At that distance from the mineral vein, no sword beam or ordinary spell could break open the solid underground rock, while the powerful magic spell would have the possibility of damaging the precious energy stones. Thus, it required manual labor to safely bring them out of the ground.
The ringing of mining tools hitting on the rock kept echoing out in the mine pit. The mining work had begun. On the rock wall beside the mine pit was an official notice: for every energy stone excavated, according to its grade, one would be rewarded from one to one thousand gold coins. For every piece of metal ore excavated, according to the weight and quality, one would be rewarded from ten silver coins to one hundred gold coins. The extraordinary high pay could always excite those miners to risk their lives and work ten years in this dangerous place. When they returned to Purple Left City ten years later, each of them would be a small wealthy man.
Ye Zidou brought everyone for a walk in the underground mine cave, introducing them to each functional region in this large and spacious underground cave, especially a cultivating cave that was opened up especially for the inner sect of Heaven Breaking Sword Sect.
Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng were looking around at this massive underground cave system smilingly. Suddenly, the military intelligence token hanging down on the side of their waists began vibrating rapidly. A shrill voice then came from the token, "Senior He Qianqiu has found Qin army's field headquarters! He is currently under attack from all sides, and has requested backup! The location is at the Great Dream Marsh, seven million and eight hundred thousand miles to the southwest!"
Wu Qi and Lu Chengfeng exchanged a glance, quickly informed Nie Yaonu about the sudden news, then hastily rushed back to their office in Little Meng City.